Eldernell Hill: From 19th Century Aboriginal Camp to Blue-Chip Hamilton Location

Eldernell Hill
Photo Credit: Google Maps screen capture

Residents of the Eldernell Hill estate in Hamilton enjoy a great location with an enviable view of Moreton Bay. Established in 1890, this subdivision consists of Grays Road, Mullens Street, Prospect Terrace, Hanlon Terrace (now Eldernell Terrace), Markwell Street, Perry Street, and Windermere Road.

Oliver Jonker

There were two aboriginal camps in this Hamilton location. One was found on the hilltop whilst the other was situated on the northern side of the estate. The camps, however, were repeatedly destroyed by the police who conducted raids when the Aborigines attacked the settlers.

William Hemmant, a British-Australian politician who served the Legislative Assembly and was also assigned as Queensland Treasurer, owned the estate that became Eldernell Hill. The land comprised more than four acres, stretching over to what is now known as Kingsford Smith Drive.

During this time, there were only a few residents in Hamilton, which was still considered semi-rural. However, the location already had some of the finest homes in Queensland.  

Eldernell, the Mansion

In 1869, Mr Hemmant had the heritage-listed Eldernell mansion constructed on the crest of the hill that overlooks the rest of Hamilton. It was designed by Brisbane architect James Cowlishaw for when Mr Hemmant’s family from Cambridgeshire, England moved to Brisbane. He named the home Eldernell for his wife Lucy’s hometown in England.

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Eldernell mansion
Photo Credit: Brisbane City Council

Gino's Italian Restaurant
aerial view
Photo Credit: Google Maps

By 1890, Hemmant decided to subdivide his estate thus reducing the size of Eldernell’s land. However, it still has one of the most sizeable lots in Hamilton even today. It is a constant reminder of the status of Hamilton as an elite suburb.

Eldernell, the mansion, was renamed Bishopbourne in 1964 when it became the residence of Anglican Archbishop Philip Strong, who built the Chapel of the Good Shepherd on the grounds. 

Public Auction of Eldernell Hill

Some 61 allotments were publicly auctioned for Eldernell Hill and most of the lots sold for an average of £175. 

The advertisement for the public auction positioned Eldernell Hill as the “centre of the most fashionable and attractive suburb of Brisbane.” Even then, Hamilton was already a highly regarded place to live, with allotments costing two or three times more than the blocks of other suburbs nearby. 

Eldernell Hill Hamilton
Photo Credit: State Library of Queensland

Today, more than 95 per cent of residents in the Eldernell Hill section are owner-occupiers with half of the residents living in the area for over 10 years.